Bi-Rite Cafe, San Francisco

Photo: Nick Tisell and Dave Schweiss

Five bi-fold doors with laser-cut stainless steel panels enclose Bi-Rite Café at Civic Center Plaza. The doors open on all sides of the 640-square-foot kiosk. When they’re closed, they blend into the building design and don’t look like doors. The doors can remain open during business hours and locked shut with an automatic latching system when not in operation.

WRNS Studio designed the kiosk. Hattie Stroud, architect at WRNS Studio, says, “We worked with [A. Zahner Co.] who fabricated the panels using our custom perforation design, which was inspired by some of the other metal work at the Civic Center, mostly what you see on City Hall. It’s a modern interpretation of these historic patterns.”

Zahner fabricated the laser-cut patterned panels for the doors. ABS Builders Inc. installed the five Designer bifold, lift-strap doors, supplied by Schweiss Doors. All of them have weatherproof electrical components and stainless steel wind-rails. The largest door is 49 feet, 4 inches wide by 12 feet tall. The other four doors vary in size from 16 feet, 8 inches wide by 12 feet, 11 inches tall.

“On this particular project, we used Schweiss because we felt the straps would be more reliable from a maintenance standpoint in the long run,” says Stroud. “We looked at two other door manufacturers, but liked these doors because they actually have fairly minimal equipment on the side-rails. A lot of other products seem to have counterweights, electrical equipment, guards and such. One of the nice things about Schweiss Doors is that we were able to work with them to do some custom work on the things that had to be there. It worked pretty well on the installation.”